Warner Bros. announces a December release date for the awards season contender Richard Jewell. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the drama film explores the life and times of man who was wrongfully accused of plotting the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing.
At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, a pipe bomb explosion killed one person and injured 111 others. Jewell, a security guard, initially reported a backpack containing the bombs, allowing for authorities to clear out the area. A serial bomber named Eric Rudolph was later identified as the Centennial Olympic Park domestic terrorist, but only after Jewell became known as Public Enemy #1 thanks to extensive media coverage, not long after the O.J. Simpson trial forever changed how news outlets covered big stories. Jewell died from heart failure in 2007 at only 44-years-old. He’d previously filed numerous libel lawsuits in order to clear his name. For Eastwood’s film, Paul Walter Hauser portrays Jewell. Filming began in June in Atlanta.
Per Deadline, Richard Jewell gets a December 13 release date. Warner Bros. reportedly always had December in mind, but executives first needed to see footage before officially announcing the date. Eastwood’s latest film boasts a star-studded supporting cast, including Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and Kathy Bates. Richard Jewell has been in development since 2014, with Jonah Hill originally scheduled to play the title character and Leonardo DiCaprio tapped to co-star as a lawyer (both are now listed as co-producers). Richard Jewell’s screenplay was written by Billy Ray, who previously wrote The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips, and the newly released Gemini Man. Eastwood signed on to direct early this year.
At 89-years-old, Eastwood continues to be a popular mainstream director, nearly 50 years after releasing his debut feature, Play Misty for Me. While Eastwood is certainly well known for his iconic acting roles over the years, he’s managed to become one of cinema’s most prolific filmmakers of the 21st century. Most recently, Eastwood directed the 2018 crime drama The Mule, based on an elderly drug courier named Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran turned career criminal. Produced for $50 million, The Mule earned over $172 million at the box office, thus securing Eastwood’s next project for Warner Bros.
Whereas it can sometimes be difficult to “root” for Eastwood characters, Richard Jewell will undoubtedly be a crowd-pleaser given the premise. As for the quality of the film, that may be a different story, if only because not many directors get better as they approach their 90s. But Eastwood does indeed have plenty of talent on board to deliver an effective adaptation, one that will compete with other high-profile films (see Netflix) as awards season intensifies.